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The Secret to Visiting Exotic Locations Every Year… Free!

In these tough economic times, exotic vacations seems a bit extravagant.  But what if you could travel free?  Would that take a bit of the sting out of the recession?

Hike up a dormant Volcano on the Caribbean Island of St. Vincent and peer over the edge into its crater…

Or, drive to a frozen lake… North of Anchorage, Alaska…and see no sign of civilization as far as the eye can see…

How about visiting London’s Buckingham Palace for the Queen’s birthday?

Perhaps ride a Jet boat like James Bond from Hong Kong to Macao?

I’ve done all of these and you can, too.

Growing up, my dad worked for an airline, and it was wonderful! As a teenager I had a special credit card that was issued by the airline that allowed me to hop on any of their planes that had a seat available. It was great! At the time I lived in New York and when I had a vacation I would ride to work with Dad and hop on a plane to Dallas or Miami or even Anchorage or St. Vincent! Those were the days! So, I got used to flying!

Unfortunately, after I graduated from college I was no longer eligible for the family “perks” so I thought my world traveling days were over. Then one day a few years ago, I realized that there was a way to be able to do almost the same thing! Not quite to the same extent, but almost!

This plan is available to everyone and if you work it right, you can earn one flight a year, maybe more.

Of course, if you fly a lot for work you can rack up frequent flier miles to take the family on your next trip. But what if your job doesn’t involve company paid travel?

Here’s the secret–You don’t actually have to fly at all to get a free ticket.

These days you can get miles for almost anything, from sending flowers to your sweetheart, to booking hotel rooms and renting cars. I recently got 5000 miles for switching my long distance service! By constantly watching for deals offering miles, you would be amazed at how many miles you can rack up.

The best way to rack up miles, however, is with a credit card. No, I don’t mean buy miles with your credit card (although you can do that, too).

Almost every airline has a credit card that will get you miles. Generally, they give you one mile for every dollar you spend, but some only give you one mile for every two dollars, others give you two miles for certain purchases (so it pays to compare).

One thing to watch out for is how many miles it takes to get a ticket. Some airlines require 20,000 miles for a domestic ticket while others require 30,000 or even 35,000.

Even better, you can get some credit cards that aren’t affiliated with a specific airline. They have no blackout dates, and you can use it on any airline. Actually, what happens is the credit card company just contacts a travel agent for you. Sometimes you can even book your own flight and get the credit card company to pick up the bill!

Does spending enough to get 25,000 miles seem like a lot to you? Well, to get you started most cards give you miles just for signing up for their card. How does 25,000 bonus miles sound… just for signing up for the card?

The best way to make this work is to be sure you pay off the card every month (so you don’t accrue any interest charges and you have the whole limit to earn new miles with.) Then you charge absolutely everything you buy, groceries, gas, food, tires, a new toaster, everything!

If you make more than $25,000 per year and make most of your purchases on the card, you will have enough for one trip every year! Then instead of spending $2,000 on a vacation, you can add that money to your savings program! So in tough economic times getting a free vacation sounds like a good idea to me!

You can get really creative and rack up even more miles. How about offering to pay for lunch for a group of people. Everyone who is paying cash just gives you the cash and you put it all on your credit card! Guess who gets the miles? I recently got over 200 miles this way! Just be sure the cash goes to pay off the credit card or you could be digging yourself into a hole.

By carefully watching for every opportunity to get miles I have gotten tickets to Thailand and to Florida and I recently took my wife to Vancouver for a seminar. You guessed it— two tickets on frequent flier miles! By flying to Seattle and driving the rest of the way we were able to save enough miles to get two tickets and see some beautiful country along the way.

So frequent flier miles are a great way to get a free trip. If you own your own business you absolutely have it made! I first started using a frequent flier credit card when I owned a computer store. I charged all of my inventory on that credit card! I could easily rack up hundreds of thousands of miles a year! The only problem was, I would often have to completely pay my credit card off twice a month because I reached the limit!

One “caveat”  is that many “Miles Credit Cards” carry an annual fee. But even $50 or $60 is a small price to pay for all that travel. And some may even wave the fee the first year or have none at all… just be sure to read the terms.

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About Tim McMahon

Work by editor and author, Tim McMahon, has been featured in Bloomberg, CBS News, Wall Street Journal, Christian Science Monitor, Forbes, Washington Post, Drudge Report, The Atlantic, Business Insider, American Thinker, Lew Rockwell, Huffington Post, Rolling Stone, Oakland Press, Free Republic, Education World, Realty Trac, Reason, Coin News, and Council for Economic Education. Connect with Tim on Google+